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Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg [1897], at

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1. Being born by strength 1 in the ancient way, lo! he (Agni) has assumed instantly all the qualities of a sage. The Waters and the Dhishanâ 2 have furthered the friend (Mitra 3). The gods have held Agni as the giver of wealth.

2. By the ancient Nivid 1, by Âyu's 2 wisdom he has procreated these children of men. With his irradiating look 3 (he has procreated) the Sky and the Waters. The gods have held Agni as the giver of wealth.

3. The Âryan clans magnified 1 him as the first performer of sacrifices, as receiving offerings, as striving forward, the son of strength, the Bharata 2, the bestower of mighty rain (?) 3. The gods have held Agni as the giver of wealth.

4. He, Mâtarisvan 1, the lord of bountiful prosperity, has found a path for (his?) offspring, he who has found the sun, the shepherd of the clans, the begetter of the two worlds. The gods have held Agni as the giver of wealth.

5. Night and Dawn, who constantly destroy each other's appearance, suckle one young calf 1 unitedly 2. The piece of gold 3 shines between Heaven and Earth. The gods have held Agni as the giver of wealth.

6. (He is) the base of wealth, the assembler of all goods 1, the beacon of sacrifice, the fulfiller of thought, the bird 2. In order to guard their immortality

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the gods have held him, Agni, as the giver of wealth.

7. Him who is now and who was formerly the abode of wealth, the earth 1 (i. e. the dwelling-place or support) of what is born and of what will be born, the shepherd and guardian of what is and of much that comes into being. The gods have held Agni as the giver of wealth.

8. May (Agni,) the giver of wealth, present us with quick wealth. May the giver of wealth (present us with wealth) united with strong men 1. The giver of wealth (should grant us) food together with valiant heroes. The giver of wealth should grant us long life.

9 = 95, 11.


The same Rishi and metre.—Verses 1, 2 = MS. IV, 10, 6. Verse 5 = VS. XII, 2; XVII, 70; TS. IV, 1, 10, 4; 6, 5, 2; 7, 12, 3; MS. II, 7, 8.

Verse 1.

Note 1. I. e. by the attrition of the woods, as sáhasah putráh.

Note 2. Two new discussions on dhishánâ have been given by Hillebrandt (Ved. Mythologie, I, 175 seq.; comp. the criticisms of Ludwig, Ueber die neuesten arbeiten auf dem gebiete der Ṛgveda-forschung, 85 seq.) and Pischel (Ved. Studien, II, 82 seq.). Hillebrandt arrives at the conclusion that dhishánâ is the Earth (in the dual, Heaven and Earth; in the plural, Heaven. Air, and Earth), and besides the Vedi, i. e. the excavated spot of ground which serves as a kind of altar for the sacrifice. Similar is

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[paragraph continues] Pischel's opinion. He believes that the singular dhishánâ is everywhere to be interpreted as a proper name: the name of a goddess of wealth and prosperity. The dual dhisháne means 'Heaven and Earth:' thus the original meaning of dhishánâ must have been, as Pischel concludes, either Heaven or Earth. He tries to show that it is Earth, and so does Prof. Hillebrandt. The goddess of wealth originally was a goddess of the earth conceived as the liberal giver of wealth. This goddess, Prof. Pischel thinks, was closely related to, or even identical with, the goddess Aditi, whom the same scholar also believes to be a personification of the Earth.

I must confess that even this close agreement of these two distinguished scholars has failed to convince me. It is quite true that the dual dhisháne means Heaven and Earth, and it is possible that the singular may, at least in some passages, mean the Earth. But I cannot believe that this is the original meaning of the word. Originally, in my opinion, dhishánâ was an implement used at the sacrifice, more especially at the Soma sacrifice. The ádrî (Soma-stones) are said to rest in the lap of the dhishánâ (I, 109, 3). In a Yagus Mantra referring to the sacrificial preparation of Soma (Vâgasaneyi Samhitâ VI, 26) the dhishánâ, or more exactly the Dhishánâs, as goddesses (dhishánâs ka devî´h), are mentioned together with the sacrificial fire, the waters, and the grâ´vânah, the stones. In a similar connection we find a Yagus formula pronounced when the Adhvaryu began to beat the Soma plants with the Upâmsusavana stone (see Weber, Indische Studien, X, 370). There the Soma was addressed first, and then the two Dhishanâs: 'Do not be afraid, do not be terrified, assume sap (O Soma!). O two Dhishanâs! Being firm show firmness!' (Vâgasaneyi Samhitâ VI, 35). Here the Satapatha Brâhmana (III, 9, 4, 18) says, that some authorities refer the last words to the two boards (phalake) on which the pressing-stones rest (see Hillebrandt, Ved. Mythologie, I, 149 seq.). But the author of the Brâhmana himself declares that Heaven and Earth are addressed; for as to the boards

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used for pressing the Soma, it would be of no consequence if they were broken.—Other passages in which the dhishánâh are mentioned in connection with the preparation of the Soma, are Rig-veda IX, 59, 2; X, 17, 2. In the last passage the lap of the Dh.' is mentioned as in I, 109, 3 (see above). The dhishánâ was anointed, I, 102, 1. The dhishánâ is mentioned in connection with the waters which were fetched by the Adhvaryus and used at the sacrifice, X, 30, 6, and in connection with the sacrificial fire, III, 2, 1, and in our passage. I have therefore no doubt that according to the original meaning the Dhishanâ was, as stated above, a sacrificial implement used chiefly, though not exclusively, at the pressing of the Soma. I do not venture to determine the exact nature of this implement, but I think that from the passages collected above it will be evident that it was a sort of support on which the pressing-stones rested. A similar support may have been used for the vessel containing the sacrificial water, and for the sacrificial fire. This support was considered as yielding the Soma to Indra, as strengthening Indra, as inciting Indra and the gods to liberality towards men. Thus we have a goddess Dhishanâ who wears the aspect of a goddess of wealth. She is invoked as one of the Gnâs in I, 22, 10 with Hotrâ Bhâratî. Finally the Earth, the support of everything, was likened to this support of the pressing-stones and of the Soma; and Heaven and Earth were then considered as the two Dhishanâs.

Note 3. Comp. above, 94, 13, note 1.

Verse 2.

Note 1. On the solemn formulas of invocation, called Nivids, see Haug's Aitareya Brâhmana, p. 32 seq.; Weber, Indische Studien, IX, 355; H. O., Religion des Veda, 387, note 2. Of course, the Nivids which Sâṅkhâyana (Srautasûtra VIII, 16–25) gives, cannot be those to which the poets of the Rig-veda several times allude.

Note 2. On Âyu as one of the mythical ancestors of

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mankind, nearly related to Manu, see Bergaigne, Religion Védique, I, 59 seq.

Note 3. Ushas is called vivásvatî, III, 30, 13 (cf. Bergaigne, I, 86); we are justified, consequently. in translating vivásvatâ kákshasâ, 'with the irradiating look.' But in giving this translation we should not forget that the poet no doubt at the same time intended to allude to the name of Vivasvat, the father of Yama.

Verse 3.

Note 1. The text has îlata. Comp. above, I, 1, 1, note 2.

Note 2. Agni seems to be called Bharatá as belonging to the people of Bharatas. Comp. H. O., 'Buddha, sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde' (first edition), p. 414 seq. More usually Agni is designated as Bhâ´rata.

Note 3. Sriprádânum. On dâ´nu, the meaning of which I consider to be 'rain' or the like, comp. the discussion of Prof. Max Müller, vol. xxxii, 113 seq. The exact meaning of sriprá, which should not be compared with the Greek λιπαρός, cannot be determined. The etymology is a very unsafe guide in such questions, and neither the connection with the root srip, 'to creep,' 'to crawl,' nor with the noun sarpís, 'butter,' seems to lead to a satisfactory result. The passages in which sriprá or compounds of this adjective occur, point to a meaning like 'great,' 'mighty,' 'fine.' Thus sriprábhogas seems to be something like purubhógas or subhógas; Indra's arms (karásna) are called both sriprá (VIII, 32, 10) and prithú (VI, 19, 3); finally sriprádânu, which is used here as an epithet of Agni, and VIII, 25, 5 of Mitra and Varuna, does not seem to differ very much from sudâ´nu.

Verse 4.

Note 1. Mâtarisvan, the messenger of Vivasvat, who carried the fire from heaven to earth, was originally distinct from Agni, but is identified with him in several passages. See M. M., Physical Religion, p. 152; Bergaigne. Religion Védique, I; 52 seq.; H. O., Religion des Veda, 122.

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Verse 5.

Note 1. Comp. above, 95, 1, and I, 113, 2. rúsadvatsâ. The calf, of course, is Agni.

Note 2. Literally, 'turned towards each other.'

Note 3. The gold is again Agni.

Verse 6.

Note 1. The first Pâda is identical with X, 139, 3.

Note 2. I prefer with Ludwig to take véh as a nominative (comp. Lanman, Noun-Inflection, 375) instead of a genitive.

Verse 7.

Note 1. Compare the very obscure verse X, 31, 5. iyám sâ´ bhûyâ ushásâm iva kshâ´h, 'may she be the earth, as it were, of the dawns.' 'She' may possibly be the earth, which would be designated here as a dwelling-place or support of the dawns.

Verse 8.

Note 1. Prof. Max Müller proposes another translation of sánara. He writes: 'One expects an opposition between turá and sánara. Sánara can hardly be the same as vîrávat in the next line. I should like to take sánara as a variety of sána and sanâtána. Give us fleeting, i. e. daily wealth, and give us old, i. e. lasting wealth!'

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